Sunday, October 26, 2008

Hasselback Potatoes

2 pounds potatoes, medium sized (your choice of type)
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup canola, vegetable oil
1/4 cup very finely parsley leaves

Peel the potatoes and rinse to remove any traces of dirt. Cut into the potatoes into uniform pieces. (This will help in cooking time if they are all similar.) Take a sharp knife and beginning on 1 end, cut about 2/3 through the potato. Repeat the same incision from 1 end of the potato to the other, spacing the cuts uniformly.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Place the potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water. Add a pinch of salt and cook until just tender. (Do not overcook. The potatoes should remain a little hard, as they will continue to cook during roasting.) Drain the potatoes and place them on absorbent toweling to remove excess water.

Mix the flour and salt and pepper, to taste, in a bowl and carefully toss with the already blanched potatoes. Place the floured potatoes onto a baking sheet and drizzle with oil. Bake until golden brown, approximately 30 to 40 minutes.

To finish, scoop the potatoes with a slotted spoon onto absorbent paper toweling and to drain any excess oil. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with the parsley.

--Adapted from Robert Irvine

Chocolate Fudge Pie

Very, very good. One of the best desserts we've tried.

1/2 (15-ounce) package refrigerated pie dough (such as Pillsbury)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
3/4 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
1/3 cup light-colored corn syrup
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 large egg whites
1 cup frozen fat-free whipped topping, thawed
1/2 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°.

Fit dough into a 9-inch pie plate. Fold edges under; flute. Place pie plate in freezer until ready to use.

Combine brown sugar, 1/2 cup cocoa, and flour in a large bowl. Combine milk and next 5 ingredients (milk through egg whites); stir with a whisk until well blended. Add milk mixture to brown sugar mixture; stir until combined.

Pour mixture into crust. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes or until just set. Cool on a wire rack to room temperature. Cover; chill at least 4 hours. Spread whipped topping evenly over filling; sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon cocoa, if desired.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Classic Steakhouse Rub

2 teaspoons black peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dry mustard
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
4 (4-ounce) beef tenderloin steaks, trimmed (1 inch thick)
Cooking spray

Prepare grill.Place peppercorns and rosemary in a spice or coffee grinder; pulse until the pepper is coarsely ground. Combine pepper mixture, dry mustard, salt, and garlic powder; rub evenly over both sides of steaks. Place steaks on a grill rack coated with cooking spray, and grill 3 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Pumpkin Pound Cake with Buttermilk Glaze

This "cake" has a texture and flavor closer to pumpkin bread. It is more of a breakfast cake than a dessert cake.

Cooking spray
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour (about 13 1/2 ounces)
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup fat-free buttermilk

1/3 cup fat-free buttermilk
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°.

To prepare the cake, lightly coat a 10-inch tube pan with cooking spray; dust with 1 tablespoon flour. Spread pumpkin over 2 layers of paper towels; cover with 2 additional layers of paper towels. Let stand about 10 minutes. Scrape drained pumpkin into a bowl.

Place 3/4 cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, and 1/2 cup butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed 3 minutes or until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in pumpkin and vanilla. Lightly spoon 3 cups flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine flour and next 4 ingredients (through salt) in a bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Add flour mixture and 3/4 cup buttermilk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture.

Spoon batter into prepared pan. Bake at 350° for 55 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack. Remove from pan, and cool completely on wire rack.

To prepare glaze, combine 1/3 cup buttermilk and remaining ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute or until thick, stirring constantly; remove from heat. Drizzle cake with glaze.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Kinda Classic Chex Mix

6 cups Rice Chex cereal
1 cup goldfish crackers
1 cup bite-size pretzels
6tablespoons butter or margarine
2tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons seasoned salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2teaspoon onion powder

In large microwavable bowl, mix cereals, goldfish, and pretzels; set aside. In small microwavable bowl, microwave butter uncovered on High about 40 seconds or until melted. Stir in seasonings. Pour over cereal mixture; stir until evenly coated.

2. Microwave uncovered on High 5 to 6 minutes, thoroughly stirring every 2 minutes. Spread on paper towels to cool. Store in airtight container.

Roasted Garlic-Potato Soup

3 whole garlic heads
2 bacon slices, diced
1 cup diced carrot
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups diced baking potato (about 2 pounds)
4 cups low-salt chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 bay leaf
1 cup 2% low-fat milk
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Remove white papery skin from each garlic head (do not peel or separate cloves). Wrap each head separately in aluminum foil. Bake at 350° for 1 hour; let cool for 10 minutes. Separate cloves, and squeeze to extract 1/4 cup of garlic pulp; discard the skins.

Cook bacon in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until crisp. Add carrot and minced garlic, and sauté 5 minutes. Add potato, broth, salt, pepper, and bay leaf; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until potato is tender; remove bay leaf.

Combine garlic pulp and 2 cups potato mixture in a blender or food processor, and process until smooth. Return purée to pan; stir in milk, and cook over low heat until thoroughly heated. Remove from heat, and stir in chopped parsley.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Sweet and Sour Grilled Salmon

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup lemon juice
About 1/2 teaspoon salt
About 1/4 teaspoon pepper
8 pieces (about 6 oz. each; max. 1 1/4 in. thick) boned, skinned wild salmon fillet
1/4 cup (1/8 lb.) butter
Lemon wedges

1. In a large, wide bowl or 9- by 13-inch baking dish, stir brown sugar, wine, lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper until sugar is dissolved.

2. Rinse fish and pat dry. Add to marinade and turn to coat. Cover and chill for 1 to 2 hours.

3. Lift salmon from marinade and transfer to a 12- by 17-inch baking pan. Pour marinade into a 1 1/2- to 2-quart pan over medium-high heat; add butter and stir until butter is melted and mixture is simmering, 4 to 5 minutes.

4. Lay salmon, skinned side down, on a generously oiled grill over a solid bed of medium-hot coals or medium-high heat on a gas grill (you can hold your hand at grill level only 3 to 4 seconds). Brush fish generously with the baste; close lid if using a gas grill. Cook until salmon pieces are well browned on the bottom, 3 1/2 to 4 minutes (keep a spray bottle filled with clean water on hand to spritz any flare-ups). With a wide spatula, carefully turn pieces; brush tops with baste and continue to cook, basting often, until the salmon is just opaque but still moist-looking in the center of the thickest part (cut to test), about 5 to 6 minutes longer. Discard any remaining baste.

5. Transfer salmon to a warm platter or plates and garnish with lemon wedges. Add more salt and pepper to taste.

--Adapted from Sunset magazine

Macaroni Salad with Dill and Ham

2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus additional for salting water
8 ounces elbow macaroni (about 2 cups)
2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup sour cream
6 ounces cooked ham, cut into 1&3-inch cubes
3/4 cup frozen baby peas, thawed (about 4 ounces)
2 ribs celery, with leaves, diced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

Bring a large pot of cold water to a boil over high heat and salt it generously. Add the macaroni and boil, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain the macaroni in a colander, put in a serving bowl, and toss with the milk. Allow the macaroni to cool slightly while you make the dressing.

Whisk the vinegar, mustard, the 2 teaspoons salt, and black pepper to taste in a large bowl. Gradually whisk in the olive oil, starting with a few drops and then adding the rest in a steady stream to make a smooth, slightly thick dressing. Whisk in the sour cream. Add to the macaroni along with the ham, peas, celery, and dill. Add the dressing and fold to coat the pasta evenly. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

--Adapted from Food Network Kitchens

Four Cheese Macaroni

1 pound uncooked medium elbow macaroni
1 (1-ounce) slice white bread
2 1/2 cups 1% low-fat milk
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded reduced-fat extra-sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Emmenthaler or Swiss cheese
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Cooking spray
1/2 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
2 teaspoons butter or stick margarine, melted

Preheat oven to 400°.

Cook pasta in boiling water 5 minutes or until almost tender. Drain and rinse with cold water. Place pasta in a large bowl.Place bread in a food processor; pulse 10 times or until coarse crumbs form. Set aside.

Bring milk and bay leaves to a simmer in a small saucepan. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 5 minutes. Discard bay leaves. Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Place flour in a small bowl; gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk until well-blended. Return milk mixture to pan. Cook over medium heat until thick, stirring constantly with a whisk. Remove from heat. Add cheeses, salt, and pepper; stirring until cheeses melt. Pour cheese sauce over pasta; stir well. Spoon mixture into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Combine breadcrumbs, sage, and butter in a bowl; toss with a fork. Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture over pasta mixture.

Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Sunday, October 12, 2008

White Bean and Roasted Garlic Dip

2 cans white beans (such as cannelloni or great northern), rinsed and drained
1 head roasted garlic, cloves removed from peels
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon herbes de provence
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons grated or shaved Parmesan, for garnishing
Sea salt, for garnishing

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the beans, the roasted garlic, olive oil, herbes de provence, salt, pepper, cayenne, and red wine vinegar and process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl, as necessary. (If the dip seems too thick, thin with a bit of chicken broth or water.)

Transfer to a saucepan and heat gently over low heat until warm. (Dip may also be served at room temperature if desired.) Transfer to a shallow serving bowl or wide rimmed plate, smooth the top with the back of a spoon. Garnish with Parmesan, and salt and pepper. Serve with crostini or crackers.

--Adapted from Emeril Lagasse

Mint Julep Iced Tea

Maybe this isn't traditional. It's still tasty.

8 mint stems, leaves attached
1 lemon, sliced
1 lime, sliced
1 cup bourbon
3 cups cold sweetened tea
Cubed or crushed ice

Combine first 3 ingredients in a 2-quart pitcher, pressing with spoon to crush mint. Stir in bourbon and tea. Add ice.

--Adapted from Coastal Living magazine

Honey-Sesame Grilled Chicken Wings

1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon Asian chili paste
2 pounds chicken wings, tips removed, cut apart at joint
1/2 cup honey
1 1/2 teaspoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
1 green onion, trimmed and chopped

1. In a medium bowl, combine soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, and chili paste. Add chicken and let marinate for 15 minutes, stirring often.

2. Set up a gas or charcoal grill for medium heat (350° to 400°; you can hold your hand 5 in. above the cooking grate only 5 to 7 seconds). Put chicken on grill and cover with lid. Cook, turning often, until golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes.

3. In a small bowl, combine honey and hoisin sauce. Using a pastry brush, generously baste chicken wings with honey glaze. Cover grill with lid and cook till honey glaze starts to caramelize, about 3 minutes. Turn chicken wings over and baste again, using the remaining honey glaze. Cook 3 minutes more, being careful not to let the glaze burn, removing pieces from the grill as they're done. Alternatively, if you don't plan on serving immediately, you can grill the wings for closer to 20 minutes, and toss them into a baking dish. Cover with the honey mixture, and keep them warm in the oven at 250, until needed.

4. Transfer to a platter. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and green onion. Serve any remaining honey glaze on the side.

--Adapted from Sunset magazine

BBQ Snack Mix

This is an interesting snack mix. You might want to add some Tabasco, if you want it spicy.

2 cups crisscross of corn and rice cereal (such as Crispix)
1 cup tiny pretzel twists
1 cup reduced-fat cheddar crackers (such as Cheez-It)
1 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon bottled barbeque sauce
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 250º.

Combine the first 4 ingredients in a bowl. Combine butter, stir-fry sauce, powder, cumin, and salt; drizzle over cereal mixture, tossing to coat. Spread mixture into a jelly roll pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 250º for 30 minutes or until crisp, stirring twice.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Fruit-filled Acorn Squash

I made this with the oven directions. I have also included the microwave directions from the original recipe.

2 medium acorn squash (about 1 pound each)
1 tablespoon margarine
1 1/2 cups diced Granny Smith apple
1 (16-ounce) can whole-berry cranberry sauce

Place squash in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Bake at 400° for 45 minutes or until tender.

Melt margarine in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add apple; sauté 5 minutes. Stir in cranberry sauce; cook 2 minutes or until apple is tender, stirring occasionally.

Cut squash in half lengthwise, and discard seeds and membrane. Cut squash lengthwise again to make quarters. Peel the tough skin from the squash (it should just pull right off). Spoon 1/3 cup fruit filling into each squash quarter.

Microwave directions: Pierce squash with a fork, and arrange on paper towels in microwave oven. Microwave at HIGH 9 to 10 minutes or until tender. Prepare fruit fillings as directed above.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Flank Steak with Mushroom Sauce

Add some cooked elbow macaroni to turn any leftovers into a decent pasta dish.

1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 (1-pound) flank steak, trimmed
Cooking spray

1 garlic clove, minced
2 cups thinly sliced shiitake mushroom caps (about 1/2 pound mushrooms)
1 cup less-sodium beef broth
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup minced green onions

Preheat broiler.

To prepare steak, sprinkle salt and pepper evenly over both sides of steak. Place steak on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray; broil 5 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Remove the steak from oven; loosely cover with foil.

To prepare sauce, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add mushrooms; sauté for 4 minutes. Add broth, wine, and vinegar. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium, and cook until reduced to 1 1/4 cups (about 6 minutes). Add green onions, and cook for 1 minute.

Slice steak diagonally across the grain into 1/4-inch slices. Serve steak with mushroom sauce.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Friday, October 3, 2008

Spaghetti Squash with Lemon and Capers

2 large spaghetti squash
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
4 tablespoons sweet butter
2 tablespoons capers, drained
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves
1/4 cup tomato, peeled, seeded, and diced

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cut both squash in 1/2 lengthwise and scoop out all seeds. Rub them inside and out with the oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the squash cut side down on a sheet pan or cookie sheet and cover with foil. Place in the oven and cook until the rind is slightly soft or gives with a little pressure, about 20 minutes.

When they are done, scrape the meat out with a fork and reserve, keeping warm.

In a hot skillet, melt the butter and continue to cook until dark brown. Add the capers, zucchini, and bell pepper to stop the butter from cooking any further, and cook, stirring, until tender. Stir in the lemon juice and parsley and season with salt and pepper. In a large mixing bowl mix the squash, butter sauce, and tomatoes and serve.

--Adapted from Food Network